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Legislation Aims To Boost Contracts For Minority And Women-Owned Firms In Cuyahoga County

Construction worker (Photo: World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr.com)
Construction worker (Photo: World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr.com)

By ideastream's Brian Bull 

More county contracts could be awarded to regional firms owned by minorities or women, if Cuyahoga County officials adopt legislation introduced today to tackle the issue. 

A recent analysis shows that while minorities make up about 43 percent of small business contractors and 5 percent of primary contractors, just over 1 percent of Cuyahoga County contracts went to minority-owned businesses over a three-year period.

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish says he wants to pass legislation that will expand the county’s Small Business Enterprise Program, and furthermore…

“We will look at --in the bidding process -- the past history of bidders as to how they have done in terms of using minority and women-owned subcontractors in the past, and also whether in past projects they’ve had diverse workforce," says Budish.

"If the answer to those questions -- either one or the other-- is “yes”, then they can get a bid preference, going forward.”

Jose Feliciano is chairman of the Hispanic Roundtable, which promotes economic and political empowerment for the Hispanic Community.  He applauds the legislation.

“At the same time, it’s long overdue," says Feliciano. "We’ve been working on these issues with the prior administration urging them to do something similar and it fell on deaf ears.”

Meanwhile, an inclusion officer position will be created to measure compliance with the proposed laws. 

Budish says, the Cuyahoga County Council will likely put them to a vote next month.